Act One

Hamlet opens as the sentry, Francisco, is keeping watch over the castle at Elsinore. He is shortly relieved by Barnardo, who is then joined by Horatio and Marcellus. Barnardo and Marcellus reveal that they saw an apparition and, no sooner have they revealed this, than the Ghost of the late king of Denmark appears before quickly disappearing. Horatio recognizes the Ghost’s armor and realizes that it is the same armor that the King wore when he fought Norway in battle. The three men wonder whether the appearance of the ghostly King is an ominous message to all of Denmark, as they get ready for war with Norway. Horatio asks the apparition to reveal why he has appeared to them, but the Ghost refuses to speak and disappears. Horatio decides to tell Prince Hamlet what they have seen, with the hope that the Ghost will state his purpose to his son.

Inside the court, King Claudius of Denmark is giving an ostentatious speech on the death of his brother and his marriage to Queen

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